Who is behind Syria’s “Opposition Rebels”? Mother Agnes Mariam versus the US Media

Nov 29, 2013, Rob Prince

Mother Agnes Mariam, mother-superior of the monastery of St. James, the Mutilated in Qara, in the Qalamoun District of Syria, which is north of Damascus, visited Denver as part of a U.S. tour which is taking her coast to coast.

She spoke at three public venues in two days and then rushed off to catch a plane to Lincoln, Nebraska, where she also has had several speaking engagements, covered by the Nebraska press.

The Christian Palestinian family of the good mother-superior hails from Nazareth, now in Israel, from whence it was expelled and made refugee in 1948 when Israel was founded. Growing up in Lebanon, she was educated by that country’s Maronite Community. Before entering the Melkite Greek Catholic order, Mother Agnes-Mariam claims to have partnered with a group of American hippies in her youth, she with bible in hand. While little attracted to their hashish smoking, she absorbed their commitment to world peace.

Those of us who heard her speak were impressed with her dignity, her commitment to all of the Syrian people and to peace. Her concerns are for all Syrians and her approach distinctly non-sectarian. At the same time, Mother Agnes-Mariam is rightly concerned about the future of Christians both in Syria and the broader Middle East. That community which goes back to the time of Christ is under siege in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere where Salafist elements hope to homogenize the region culturally of its rich, diversified heritage. The Christian community in Syria is, itself, as old as Christianity itself. St. Paul was the Bishop of Antioch. The St. James, the Mutilated Monastery, which Mother Agnes-Mariam has helped refurbish was first built in the fifth century, that is, prior to the rise of Islam and 700 years before the Crusades began.

The Syrian Resistance – Hijacked by Islamic Militant Elements, as in Libya and Mali

The accusation – there was a national campaign to slander her U.S. tour – that she is “an agent of Assad” is, in my view, little more than mischievous nonsense being spread to undermine popular support of a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis. Her analysis of the Syrian situation suggests a reality that hardly appears in the U.S. mainstream media, far more nuanced and accurate concerning what is transpiring on the ground there. While no fan of the Assad government – she has openly criticized its repressive character – Mother Agnes Marian insisted that the government has substantial support among the country’s population and that the last thing the country’s Christian population wants to see is a radical Islamic takeover of the country.

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